Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Guides To ESL/EFL/ELL Terminology


As in any specialized profession, the world of ESL/EFL/ELL has its own unique terminology. I quite regularly come upon words that I’m not familiar with.

I thought a short “The Best…” list might be useful for readers.

I haven’t found one glossary of these kinds of terms that I would consider “complete” and accessible, so I’m listing a few of them.

Here are my picks for The Best Guides To ESL/EFL/ELL Terminology:

ESL Glossary From Bogglesworld

ESL Terminology From State University of New York — Courtland

ELT Terminology, Abbreviations & Acronyms From

Understanding Second Language Terminology From Everything ESL

The British Council’s Teaching Knowledge Database

Teaching Foreign Languages Glossary from Annenberg

Common TEFL Confusions is sort of a glossary-plus for ESL/EFL teachers. It’s very good and is from They also have a good glossary.

The last two were suggested by David Deubelbeiss. Thanks, David!

The American Institutes For Research has a good document titled Common ELL Terms and Definitions.

Colorin Colorado has a good glossary.

Other suggestions are, as always, welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at previous “The Best…” lists and also consider subscribing to this blog for free.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. Larry,

    Helpful list and I’m glad to see the addition of Chris’ mostly complete list. This basic knowledge of “terminology” is so helpful. Yesterday, an administrator was asking me what “differentiated instruction” meant. I just winked and said, “student centered” learning. So many new buzz words abound…

    I really do think that one of the most confusing things for a new teacher is our “alphabet soup”. I hate prescriptive measures but maybe it might be a good idea to have an ELT acronym overlord. 🙂

    I tried to comment yesterday but my post was deleted because it contained a url…. I really must give a thumbs down on that one …. it is all about URLs! I understand the other issues but I don’t think you kill the cow because of the flies! However that’s another issue…

    A couple more lists can be found at Annenberg media and at the BC’s (there’s another acronym Teacher knowledge wiki. The former is more academic and the later, more practical with helpful examples. Hit Teacher Training on my school’s page to get the links



  2. Pingback: ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival « An (aspiring) Educator’s Blog

  3. A nice list. There are a lot of terms I came across in these lists that I was not aquainted with 🙂 Thx

  4. Thanks Larry! That’s really useful! 🙂

  5. There’s our Glossary here as well:

    Hope this helps!

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.

Skip to toolbar